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Visual Arts

The Visual Arts program at Pingry is designed to foster the development of aesthetic insights and appreciation on a personal, social, and cultural level. Through wide exposure and critical examination, the Pingry student can develop a lasting appreciation, understanding, and enjoyment of art. Our program provides students with a wide range of opportunities for participation in the art program, allowing them to study many media in depth.

On a personal level, the Visual Arts program strives to challenge students to: see in new ways and develop creativity through personal expression of their thoughts, ideas and emotions; develop character and a positive self-image by fostering the growth of problem-solving skills; cultivate their intellectual curiosity by presenting a broad range of visual studies; discover and improve new skills, strengths, and interests; and enhance their sensitivity and introspection through critical analysis of personal works.

On a social level, the Visual Arts program aims to challenge students to: examine their environments in new and different ways; respect, appreciate, and support the creative efforts of others; and examine and objectively analyze the culture they have inherited and the range of roles and responsibilities they can assume within it.

On a cultural level, the Visual Arts program aims to encourage seeing and expressing in new ways, thereby enriching lives and leading to a more thorough understanding of today’s pluralistic, global art world.

Note: Due to the wide selection of course offerings in studio art and due to fluctuations in enrollment, some courses may be offered on an alternate-year basis.

Visual Arts Courses

Art Fundamentals: 2-D & 3-D Design (#12304)

Major year course. 3 credits. Forms III-VI. This course is a prerequisite for all other courses in the visual arts except A.P. Art History.

This introduction to the principles of two-dimensional and three-dimensional design enables students to develop a critical visual vocabulary, and this course encourages them to begin to develop their own artistic voice. Through exposure to historical and contemporary perspectives in art, students utilize a range of art materials and technical processes in order to deepen their understanding of artmaking. This course provides a foundation for future art studies. Museum trips and related activities enhance the studio experience.

Clayworking 1 (#12756)

Major year course. 3 credits. Forms IV-VI.

Art forms which may be executed in clay may range from two-dimensional, through reliefs and murals, to the full three-dimensional forms of sculpture and art pottery. This course develops the skills and sensibilities that will allow students to pursue their interests in any of these directions. Wheel-throwing and hand-building are taught, using stoneware and porcelain clays and glazes fired in both oxidation and reduction. Glazes will be formulated with the aid of the computer and special software. Mixed media techniques and clay will also be explored. The history of clay art forms, as well as contemporary movements, are studied with the emphasis on design, organization of form, and the development of an expressive personal visual vocabulary. Museum trips or other related activities will enhance the studio experience.

Photography 1 (#12807)

Major year course. 3 credits. Forms IV-VI.

Students will study photography as an art form and learn to incorporate individuality and the principles of design into their work. Students learn to use a 35mm camera and gain the necessary technical skills for developing and printing. The course develops the students’ powers of observation, inquiry, and imagination, and demands that they learn to follow procedures that require careful timing, close attention to detail, patience, and planning. The history of photography is introduced and students are exposed to the rich, innovative uses of photography in contemporary global discourse. The school will furnish a 35mm SLR camera and Adobe Photoshop to each student enrolled for the period of the course. In addition to learning traditional film photography, students will also begin to learn Photoshop and work with cell phones and digital photography.

Filmmaking (#12708)

Major year course. 3 credits. Forms IV-VI.

Major year course. 3 credits. Forms IV-VI. This course offers instruction in the fundamentals of filmmaking and media literacy. Students learn basic techniques including scripting, lighting, filming, editing, sound, and special effects. We begin with practice with equipment and study of films to understand the principles of visual narrative. Montage, documentaries, and special effects are among the featured projects. Students use Adobe Premiere Pro and Adobe After Effects.

Environmental art (#12719)

Major year course. 3 credits. Forms IV-VI.

This year-long Environmental Art course introduces students to art that first gained international attention in the 1960s and has since become a significant art practice. Students will explore the possibilities for using natural and recycled materials found on campus to make art with an emphasis on site-specific sculpture. They will be encouraged to become keen observers of their surroundings and develop a sense of place that will energize their work. Pingry has almost two hundred acres that provide easily harvested clay, wood, and stone with which to build sculptures. Students will learn to think of the natural world as their palette, and they will make their own art materials: paper from plants, dyes from flowers, and encaustic paint from beeswax. Interdisciplinary projects with Environmental Science, Environmental History, and Creative Writing classes will be emphasized.

Sculpture (#12726)

Major year course. 3 credits. Forms IV-VI.

Students study various media to produce three-dimensional sculptural forms. Pâté de verre, hot glass, casting, clay, wood, stone, hydro-stone, plaster, and metals are employed to communicate a personal visual vocabulary. Modeling, mold-making, carving, casting, and fabrication techniques are introduced. Large-scale works are created through collaboration. The computer is, at times, employed as a designing tool, and the two-dimensional images are then translated into three-dimensional sculpture. The history of sculpture, contemporary movements, and architectural applications is stressed. Group projects and individual expression heighten the students’ understanding and appreciation of art and sculpture. Museum/gallery visits and other related activities will enhance the experience.

Architecture, Drafting, & Design 1 (#12837)

Major year course. 3 credits. Forms IV-VI.

The first directive of the study of architecture and of interior and industrial design is learning to design. Design is the process of planning, problem solving, development, construction, and presentation of ideas. Students will develop skills in visualization through sketching, drafting, and constructing models. Computer -aided design programs will be used as tools to develop and grow conceptually. Students will study the work of a variety of artists, architects, and product designers.

Drawing & Painting 1 (#12104)

Major Year Course. 3 credits. Forms IV-VI.

The core goals of this course are to practice observing the world with clarity and imagination, to develop analytical skills from a visual perspective, and to interpret experience expressively using visual tools. The emphasis during the first semester will be on drawing and painting from life. Students will draw with a variety of tools offering range and flexibility in expressing ideas, including charcoal, pen and ink, and pastels. They will also develop skills working with acrylic and oil paint media. During the second semester, assignments will encourage students to develop a visual point of view and find creative, original solutions to visual problems. Students will receive regular feedback and evaluation of their work from the instructor, and also periodic feedback and exchange of ideas from classmates.

Field trips, museum visits, shows in our gallery, and the study of relevant artists will be integrated into the process of developing ideas for assignments. Student will be encouraged to display their work and to communicate through their art.

Clayworking 2 (#12766)

Major year course. 3 credits. Forms V-VI.
Prerequisite: Clayworking 1.

This course centers on wheel-throwing as a means of making clay forms. Basic and advanced throwing skills, materials, concepts, glazing, and firing are covered. The computer will be used to conceive some designs, which will be translated into three-dimensional forms. Hot glass, pâté de verre, and casting will also be combined with the clay medium. Glazes will be formulated with the aid of glaze calculation software and the computer. Students learn how formulated minerals react to heat and produce crystalline glazes. Oxidation, reduction, raku, overglaze, and luster-finishing techniques will be explored as the student constructs utilitarian and non-utilitarian expressive works in clay. Museum/gallery visits and other related activities will enhance the experience.

Photography 2 (#12805)

Major year course. 3 credits. Forms V-VI.
Prerequisite: Photography 1.

This course is designed for advanced photography students. Students will learn more complicated skills in printing, shooting, lighting, and special effects. Aesthetic awareness and individual expression through photography will be stressed. Students will learn sophisticated digital photography applications in Photoshop and they will also learn to use a cellphone for making “serious” artwork. Students study in depth the innovative uses of photography in contemporary global culture, and the artists who have transformed photography into one of the most important art forms of our time.
Museum/gallery visits and other related activities will complement the classroom coursework. The school will furnish Adobe Photoshop to each student enrolled for the period of the course and students may use digital and film cameras furnished by the department.

Architecture, Drafting, & Design 2 (#12847)

Major year course. 3 credits. Forms V-VI.
Prerequisite: Architecture, Drafting, and Design 1.

Students will continue in-depth study in architecture, drafting, and design. They will develop higher-level skills of drafting, site and floor plan creation, and model building, and they will acquire an understanding of the concepts of plot plans, mapping, landscape design, topography, and interior design. Advanced computer-aided design programs will be used to develop creations. Students will continue to develop their compositional understanding, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills with more complex and challenging projects.

Drawing & Painting 2 (#12204)

Major year course. 3 credits. Forms V-VI.
Prerequisite: Drawing and Painting 1.

Independent thinking and thoughtfully considered self-expression are emphasized in this course. Students will return to the touchstone of drawing, with regular drawing assignments scheduled throughout the year. Skills developed in Drawing and Painting I will be honed, and nontraditional mark-making materials will also be explored. Most students will have reached a level where they understand that the greatest challenge is not how to draw and paint, but what to draw and paint. Ideas from key art history movements and major issues in contemporary art will be featured elements in assignments. Watercolor, mixed media, and collage are examples of methods and media that will be introduced and explored in depth. Working with multiple images, digital technology, and various other nontraditional media will give students more resources and more freedom to create work that meets a high standard of original and critical expression. Personal expression and effective visual communication of ideas will be the overarching goals, and the instructor will work individually with each student to move forward in that effort.

Portfolio Development (#12739)

Major Year Course. 3 credits. Forms V-VI.
Prerequisite: 2 years of art in the Upper School & departmental permission. Honors.

This course is designed for the serious art student who has mastered basic art skills and is interested in producing a substantial body of work. Emphasis is placed on developing a portfolio, which may be used for college admission or to support an application. Students will work both independently and collaboratively employing the different disciplines and the multitude of intersections of various media in contemporary art. This course will foster the highest level of concentration in the visual arts.

Advanced Topics in Art (#12743)

Major year course. 3 credits. Forms V-VI. Prerequisites: 2 years of art in the Upper School + Departmental permission. Prospective students must apply for permission and submit a portfolio and statement of purpose during the course registration period.

The serious art student at an advanced level may choose to undertake an individual art project under the direction of a member of the art faculty. Project content, meeting times, and deadlines will be established on an individual basis to best accommodate and support the learning process. This course provides a suitable working environment for the highly motivated student.

A.P. Art History (#12909)

Major year course. 3 credits. Forms V-VI. Art Fundamentals is not a prerequisite.

This course prepares students for the newly designed Advanced Placement exam. It emphasizes understanding works in their cultural context and making thematic connections across cultures. The thematic approach to the study of art provides fresh ways of looking at art and often inspires class discussion. When analyzing works of art, students think critically about form, content, context, and function. To address the question of art’s function, and to give students the experience of seeing original works of art, the class visits the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the fall and the Museum of Modern Art in the spring. In the library and in the Barbara Berlin Art Critique Room, students have access to images and scholarly analysis in many different formats, including exhibition catalogues and online databases. The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History and ArtStor are two resources that students consult frequently. Students’ knowledge of subject, artist, and materials is tested at regular intervals. Students also learn how to collect and organize pertinent information and write analytical papers using the correct vocabulary.

At the conclusion of the course, students must sit for the Advanced Placement exam.

Arts Department Chair Miles Boyd and a student discussing photography and laughing